Pilsko Massif

Pilsko Massif lies in the Beskid Żywiecki, at the Polish-Slovak border, 20 km southeast of Zywiec in Silesia. The highest peak is Pilsko (1557 m above sea level) – the second highest after Mount Babia peak in the whole of the Beskidy Mountains. Due to the height and the diversity of fauna and flora, Pilsko Massif is quite an attraction in itself.

Due to the high altitude it is the only one in the Beskidy Mountains – next to Babia Mount – zone of alpine vegetation system. Up to approx. 1100 m above sea level, there grows the mixed lower subalpine forest, which at an altitude of approx. 1300 – 1400 m fades going into a natural mountain pine. The zone of mountain halls and natural rock vegetation is not yet presented in full scope. The wide dome of Pilsko clearly dominates the neighboring culminations, exceeding them by 200 – 300 m, so the top is an excellent viewpoint. You can see the large part of the Western Beskid Mountains and Barania of Skrzyczne in the west, the Beskid Maly in the north, the Babia Gora and the Tatra Mountains in the distance, the Gorce and the east. The highest point is located on the Slovak side of the border.

In the area of Pilsko, there is a whole range of animal species characteristic for high mountain ranges in the Western Beskidy, as well, and the lowlands. You can meet birds of prey like a hawk or lesser spotted eagle, as well as lynx or “king-growth forest” – the brown bear. The biggest cradle of the bear is a large Slovak nature reserve covering a large area Pilsko – almost the whole area is off the tourist tracks.

Due to the richness of the flora and fauna of Pilsko Massif is covered by different forms of conservation, both on Polish and Slovak side of the border. There are various types of nature reserves, landscape parks, natural monuments and protected areas.

On Pilsko, there have developed four climatic zones, which refer to plant – soil zones: the moderately warm zone up to 620 m, approx. temp. 6-8 ° C, moderately cold zone from 620 to 1050 m, approx. temp. 4-6 ° C, cold zone from 1050 to 1380 m, approx. temp. 2-4 ° C and very cold zone above 1380 m, approx. temp. 0-2 ° C. The annual precipitation ranges from less than 1000 mm in the area of the foot to almost 1500 mm in the upper part of the northern and western slopes. June and July are the most rainy months.


Bear A., S. Figiel, The Beskidy, Vol. 1, Silesian and Zywiec, Bielsko-Biala in 1997.

Lajcak A., Monography of Pilsko Massif (The Beskid Żywiecki), Kraków 2015.